Our Work

Communication is connection.
Our ability to communicate and connect with each other is key to our success and happiness.

But one in six Americans has a speech, language, or hearing disorder that can keep them from reaching their full potential in school, work, and life. That’s 50 million people with conditions that can make human interaction a struggle to connect and convey ideas. Their everyday life can be very frustrating—and we all miss out on their potential contributions.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation) supports innovators and sparks innovation in the field of communication sciences and disorders. We provide resources for passionate and promising investigators exploring forward-thinking solutions and conducting groundbreaking research.

Human communication is complicated.

Physical, neurological, psychological, and social factors all affect our ability to connect with others. Professionals in this field—including audiologists and speech-language pathologists—need new knowledge, tools, and techniques to help people tackle their challenges.

Our programs are early investments in ingenuity, empowering innovators to chart new paths and equipping them to attract new resources. We achieve this through grants, scholarships, achievement awards, and special programs.

Our Stories

Andrea Pittman

Funded in 1997, 2008

Andrea’s ASHFoundation support funded her early investigations into how children with hearing loss manage—and learn in—complex environments, like their classrooms. That support allowed her to build a strong base for her continued research into improving their educational outcomes.

Will Hula

Funded in 2004, 2005

Will wanted to find a better way. His early ASHFoundation funding kickstarted his investigation into new, innovative methods of measuring clinical outcomes in aphasia—creating a stronger evidence base for clinicians to help patients.

Rita Patel

Funded in 2008, 2010

Rita supports the voice of the children—literally. With pilot data collected from an ASHFoundation-funded study, she has worked toward developing better assessment tools for the early detection of vocal disorders in children, to get them the treatment they need.

Sarah Hargus Ferguson

Funded in 1998

Sarah investigates what, exactly, makes clear speech clear, aiming to offer solutions to people with hearing loss and their communication partners—beyond hearing aids. And with early ASHFoundation support of her research, federal funding is no longer out of reach.

See a full list of our past recipients and read about their work.

Our Journey

The ASHFoundation was officially founded in 1946 by Wendell Johnson as the Speech Correction Research Foundation; we awarded our first research grant of $75 to Dr. William Love.

After a few decades of limited activity and a few name changes, the ASHFoundation was revitalized under the leadership of Frank R. Kleffner, who served on the board from 1981–1988, and other leaders. During his tenure, Kleffner oversaw the creation of our formal giving programs, as well as awards and special project programs. In 1989, with net assets at $228,000, we hired our first executive director.

Our first capital campaign—Dreams and Possibilities, launched in 1999—would yield $2 million by 2005. Today, the ASHFoundation’s assets are $13 million. Since our inception, we have awarded over $8.6 million to more than 2,000 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, and leaders in the field.

Our Donors


Individual Donors

Every year, thousands of individual donors help the ASHFoundation support innovators and spark innovation.

Meet the Individual Donors

Organizational Donors

Our organizational donors help us transform the field of communication sciences and disorders.

Meet the Organizational Donors

Corporate Sponsors

Our corporate donors are vital to the success of ASHFoundation programs.

Meet the Corporate Sponsors

Honor Gifts

Special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, retirement, and honors are often celebrated with a donation to the ASHFoundation.

Meet the Honorees and Donors

Memorial Gifts

Donors often give a gift in the memory of a loved one who has passed away.

Meet the Honorees and Donors

Wendell Johnson Society

This special group of individuals has remembered the ASHFoundation in their will or have endowed a legacy gift.

Meet the Wendell Johnson Society 

Our Leadership

Meet the ASHFoundation’s Board of Trustees.

Our Staff

Meet the ASHFoundation Staff.

Our Publications

View our Research Presentations and Publications.

The ASHFoundation, governed by a Board of Trustees, is affiliated with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a membership organization representing audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students.